Saipan Sucks (SaipanSucks.com) is a politically and socially critical website about the United States's Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), particularly its principal island Saipan. The website seeks to call attention to what it sees as systemic societal corruption in the CNMI. It has been in existence since 2001 and has been reported in a variety of ways in local, regional, and international newsprint and magazine outlets, on ABC Radio Australia, and Internet forums and blogs, including the personal blog of travel book author David Stanley. The website has been the subject of intense debate and scrutiny by the CNMI government, who has threatened to sue the website's author.
Saipan Sucks seeks to call attention to what it sees as systemic societal problems in the CNMI that are supported by misuse of United States taxpayer money. Press outlets have quoted the following excerpt from the website:
Nepotism rules on the islands. Fueled by money paid by American taxpayers and diverted to the far-off territory, politicians run for office primarily for the sake of being in a position to appoint their relatives to high-paying sinecures.The website presents allegations of corruption, racism, nepotism, jury-rigging, worker exploitation, employment discrimination, and mismanagement of the CNMI tourism industry by local CNMI officials, and seeks to warn U.S. mainlanders about moving to the islands to accept employment offers.
Since July 2001, shortly after Saipan Sucks was published, CNMI government officials criticized the website's anonymity and characterized it as a "smear campaign". Stemming from its reported investigations, the CNMI government has threatened to sue the website's author for libel or defamation. The website author's response to the CNMI government was to state that they have "apparently never heard of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution … Is it possible the investigators don't recognize political and social commentary when they see it?"
In November 2006, a local environmental group, Beautify CNMI!, decried the website's high PageRank in search engines such as Google, and the fact that anyone who searches with the keyword "Saipan" could find the website in the top-ten search result positions. The group published a plan to counter the website's ranking through a campaign of linkspamming via Google bombing and text anchoring.
All along, counter-critics who are either Chamorros (indigenous people of Saipan) or those otherwise knowledgeable about the CNMI have maintained that, although Saipan Sucks uses hyperbole as a literary device, much or most of what it states is true and should be heeded.
Saipan Sucks is written by a person or persons going by the pseudonym "Forgetabilia". Reported investigations carried out by the CNMI government in July 2001 led to an alleged belief about a real identity behind this persona. Later, on November 16, 2006, a CNMI daily alleged that Saipan Sucks was written by a former CNMI Assistant Attorney General, who the daily reported as having "disliked his position" in the CNMI. The same day, a regional publication denied the truthfulness of the daily's claim, reiterating that the author or authors remain anonymous. Saipan Sucks closes by stating, "As for the authors of this essay, our days in Micronesia have ended … In all likelihood we shall remain happily for the rest of our days ensconced in anonymous Longnesia, suffering, with a little luck, from a selective am-nesia. Hence our name – Forgetabilia."
See also Edit
- Anonymity and politics
- Demographics of the Northern Mariana Islands
- Economy of the Northern Mariana Islands
- Northern Mariana Islands Territory Constitution
- Northern Marianas College
- Politics of the Northern Mariana Islands
- United Nations Trust Territories
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